Durbs Comes Out Tops (Again)

Private Property South Africa
Lea Jacobs

Private Property’s hometown has been ranked the top South African city to live in. Here’s why the city offers the best quality of life in the Mzansi.

Durban has once again been ranked as the top South African city, offering the highest quality of life, in the Mercer’s Quality of Living survey. The international accolade placed Durban ahead of both Johannesburg and Cape Town. Durban was placed 85th overall in the global rankings while Cape Town and Johannesburg ranked 92nd and 95th respectively.

Durban has a lot going for it. Beautiful beaches, a well-visited promenade and fantastic weather. It also boasts a laid-back community which takes full advantage of all the amenities on offer, a point that undoubtedly adds to its attraction. On the property side of things, the city and its surrounds offer excellent value for money when compared to other desirable areas around the country.

For instance, in Camps Bay in the Western Cape the average price of a freehold property sold within the last 12 months is approximately R14.6m. Using the same criteria, the price of a sectional title unit in the suburb is R9.5m.

The average price of a freehold home sold in Clifton during the same period was R17.4-million, while sectional title units sold for an average of R11.9-million in that time.

In Sandhurst in Gauteng, buyers have been paying an average of R25-million for a freehold property over the past year while a sectional title unit will have cost around R2.1-million.

Those purchasing a freehold home in Rosebank, Gauteng can expect to pay around R11.6-million for the privilege and will have to come up with approximately R2.1-million for a sectional title unit.

By contrast, in Umhlanga Rocks the average selling price for a freehold property over the past 12 months is close to R5-million, while the average price of a sectional title unit in this popular area is around R3.8-million. The median price of a freestanding home in Zimbali, an upmarket estate on the North Coast, is around R5.7-million. Prices in La Lucia to the north of the city have soared in value in recent years and the average price paid for a free-standing home in the past year was around R3.6-million. Sectional title properties sold for an average of R3.3-million during the same period.

Overall (yes, we know there are exceptions, particularly in the sectional title sector), you definitely get more bang for your buck in Durban. When you add the terrific weather and wide range of amenities - including some of South Africa’s finest beaches - into the mix, it’s perhaps not surprising that Durban and areas to the north in particular have seen an increase in buyers from other parts of the country over the past few years.

Shopping opportunities, including Gateway Theatre of Shopping, the newly opened Ballito Junction, the Pavilion and the numerous lifestyle centres in and around the city are on par with retail facilities in both Johannesburg and Cape Town and while the city has its share of traffic congestion, it's nothing compared to the problems experienced by commuters in Gauteng and Cape Town.

As far as leisure activities go, Durban’s beaches are clean and the infrastructure is generally well maintained. The Indian Ocean is warm and is extremely popular with water sports enthusiasts and the impressive promenade that runs along Durban’s Golden Mile and beyond draws runners, cyclists, walkers and skateboarders, all keen to make the most of the fresh air and wonderful sub-tropical climate. The city is also home to world-class restaurants as well as uShaka Marine World with its impressive aquarium and magnificent water park.

Overall it’s not difficult to understand why the city has scooped the accolade. Simply put, it boasts a lifestyle like no other and the fact that the temperate winter climate allows this lifestyle to continue throughout the winter months makes Durban the ‘hottest’ place to be.

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Explore neighbourhoods mentioned in this article

Durban Central
Beach meets business
Durban Central is a diverse, colourful neighbourhood that includes the beachfront areas, the Berea, Morningside, Glenwood, Musgrave and the CBD. The beach is the biggest attraction and locals flock the promenade to cycle, run, surf, swim, fish or just catch some sun. There are also incredibly lush parks and open spaces dotted around the neighbourhod for residents to take advantage of. The nightlife in Durban Central is exciting with numerous bars, pubs, restaurants and night clubs in close proximity to each other. As its name implies, Durban Central's location makes it convenient to get to any of the other areas around Durban.
Durban North
Small sophisticated suburb
Durban North is an established small suburb where the people are friendly, and the surroundings are beautiful. It is a family-oriented area with many activities available. Situated between Durban central and Umhlanga, all amenities and schools are located only minutes away. The area boasts spectacular sea and city views. Although it is centrally and conveniently located, living in Durban North feels very much like living in a small town.
Durban South
Seaside suburbs of the South
Durban South has a very family-like feel to it, with spacious homes at affordable prices. Enjoy quiet neighbourhoods and great community living, amongst a diverse range of cultures. The area feels warm and welcoming to anyone and everyone. This part of Durban offers convenient access to beaches, malls, and good schools. It's suburban bliss, just a stone's throw away from the city of Durban. It's the ideal place for those wanting to retire near the seaside.
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